I have run into a problem concerning spacing after bibnamedash and was hoping to find help here.

I have modified \bibnamedash with \renewcommand{\bibnamedash}{\rule[3pt]{3em}{.6pt}} to get a 3-em dash, which works fine in general, but when the dash is followed by "ed.", the space between the dash and "ed." is missing. I attach a minimal runnable example below. Is this a bug? Is there a workaround?


author = {Elster, Jon},
title = {The market and the forum},
subtitle = {Three varieties of political theory},
editor = {Bohman, James and Rehg, William},
location = {Cambridge, Massachusetts},
publisher = {The MIT Press},
year = {1997},
booktitle = {Deliberative democracy},
booksubtitle = {Essays on reason and politics},
pages = {3-33},
editor = {Elster, Jon},
title = {Deliberative democracy},
location = {Cambridge},
publisher = {Cambridge University Press},
year = {1998},





This is a test file for biblatex (\cite{Elster1997}; \cite{Elster1998}).


  • Welcome to TeX.sx! A tip: You can use backticks ` to mark your inline code as I did in my edit. – Marco Daniel Sep 30 '12 at 10:35
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    Use \renewcommand{\bibnamedash}{\rule[3pt]{3em}{.6pt}\space} – Marco Daniel Sep 30 '12 at 10:46
  • @MarcoDaniel Or, possibly better, \addspace – egreg Sep 30 '12 at 10:50
  • @egreg: I thought the same but please see my answer. I also found this post where P. Lehmann doesn't complain about \space: digipedia.pl/usenet/thread/1902/35231 ;-) – Marco Daniel Sep 30 '12 at 10:53
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The default definition of bibnamedash is more complex. You can find the definition in the file biblatex.def. To explain the solution here the definition:


You can see, that the width of bibnamedash is related to leftmargin whereby the simple definition is: \mbox{\textemdash\space}. The other part can be ignored here. So for your problem you can easily do:

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    I'd prefer to use a length based on ex units for the rule's height: \renewcommand{\bibnamedash}{\rule[0.58ex]{3em}{.4pt}\space}. In this way the command is independent on the point size; 0.6pt seems too thick, but it's a matter of taste. The \mbox is surely redundant. – egreg Sep 30 '12 at 11:09
  • Excellent! Thank you for the immediate reply! I have one more question, though: I realize that, according to the Chicago Manual of Style, which I am trying to follow here, the 3-em dash should in such cases be followed by a comma and then a space (since the dash stands for the name of the author/editor, and the name is followed by a comma when followed by "ed."). So how can I add a comma to the dash when the dash is followed by "ed."? – Wolfhart Sep 30 '12 at 11:16
  • @egreg: Is the mbox redundant? I think you are right.The dimension ex is recommended depends on the author ;-) – Marco Daniel Sep 30 '12 at 11:16
  • @Wolfhart: Do you mean \renewcommand{\bibnamedash}{\rule[3pt]{3em}{.6pt}\addcoma\space} – Marco Daniel Sep 30 '12 at 11:30
  • @Marco Daniel: The comma should be added after the dash only when followed by "ed.", since only in this case is the name followed by a comma. The command you propose adds the comma in every case. (Also, there is a typo, a missing "m" in addcomma.) – Wolfhart Sep 30 '12 at 11:43

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